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MIDI tyro - FCB1010, M5, Pod

 
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NickS
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:21 pm    Post subject: MIDI tyro - FCB1010, M5, Pod Reply with quote

So I have a Line 6 Pod 2.0 (thanks ProgRob) and a Line 6 M5 (thanks Chris). The Behringer FCB1010 looks like a good way of avoiding the tap-dancing that operating the M5 might require and of controlling the Pod Blaze It without buying the Line 6 Floorboard. I got fed up with trying to score one of these on eBay so went to Anderton's and got a second-hand one for 80.

It's bigger than I thought....
I downloaded MIDI-OX initially as a debugging tool but also the Mountain Utilities FCB1010 editor which has a very handy Virtual FCB1010 function. I've had a USB Midi interface for a while. First hurdle was semantic; when it says "In" and "Out" on the plugs, what does that mean?
Once I started getting stuff appearing in the MIDI-OX monitor screen I knew I had them the right way round. Operating the controls gave me a clue about the hex commands for "effect on" and "effect off", "patch select" etc. as I could see them appear in the MIDI-OX receive monitor pane. Reading the M5 "pilot's guide" has a page on MIDI but as I was trying to sort out the hex to program as messages I need that level of detail. Now the parameters I had seen in the FCB1010 editor made a bit more sense and I was able to put a basic set of parameters into the virtual FCB1010 to select the presets (1 - 24) on the M5 or turn it off.

Next; expression pedal. This is a bit of a disappointment on the M5. It appears that you can only use one expression pedal and by default the expression pedal affects all the patch parameters that can be controlled. This could be a good thing; maybe you want to turn down the tone while you turn up the drive, or turn down the output level as you turn up the gain; but it would be nice to provide more granularity. It does mean that if you want to vary more than one parameter, e.g. depth and speed of chorus, you're back to the pedal.

Next step is to hook up the FCB1010 and check that it works... Smile
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NickS
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, no, it didn't. Andertons had allegedly tested it but I don't think they had tested the MIDI functions because although it lit up and bank select and switches worked, the MIDI interface was completely dead. I opened the case and found the cable to the MIDI daughterboard was disconnected. Plugged in and now I'm getting output as I should.
Bad Andertons!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good skills.

I keep meaning to do some reading up on midi. I'm perpetually surprised when I ever get it to do anything. Earlier on I got an old drum machine linked up with my PC and managed to play patterns stored on the drum machine but using the drum sounds from EZ Drummer. Which was nice. But I'm sure there's a lot more I could get out of it with a bit more knowledge.
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I'm just going to smash it in with a hammer and hope it works. Tone is all in the fingers anyway.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been doing all kinds of midi fighting lately. Seems like it can be a really powerful tool,but in my experience if you're not doing the exact thing the hardware was designed for, you're gonna have a bad time. But still, it's been worth it. I'm actually doing a show tomorrow night with just a laptop and two little midi controllers.
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NickS
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I've got it working I'm actually using the Soft FCB feature of the Mountain Utilities FCB1010 Manager to try and work out how I want to use it.

There are a bunch of SysEx files available on-line to set up the FCB1010 for various FX boxes in various ways using the native Behringer EPROM.

Last night I was looking at one that's a simulation of the Line 6 floor board and adapting it better to my Pod Blaze It. For example, the first bank was all cab simulators, so I scrapped that and started trying to set up a way to select and configure delays. This is somewhat hampered by the fact that the other banks call presets on the Pod and the factory presets tend to do things like specify their own delay settings, so you can't transition smoothly from a clean factory preset with your reverb/delay/chorus setting to a crunch factory preset with the same setting delay/mod setting. This SysEx does try to provide some stomp box functionality so that whatever bank you're using boost, delay, reverb and wah are always available. I'm still trying to work out some of the MIDI comands to control functions like select delay repeat type, select modulation type, etc as the tables in the reference guide aren't that informative. Looking at the output from the Pod Blaze It when you change the controls can give you some sort of clue but typically results in a data stream with multiple CC commands that's not programmable into something as basic as the FCB1010, which can do only one CC command per footswitch press, apparently.

There is an option to buy UnO or Eureka PROMs, but Eureka will cost me about another 40 and UnO about 30. Both of these configure some of the pedals as "stomp boxes" and are smart enough to leave the LED lit on a "stomp box" that hasn't been explicitly turned off, which is cool.

So, I don't know which way to go. I could customise the presets but they'll still override the current effect setting. I could program the FCB1010 to do amp model selection instead of preset selection but I'd still have to set EQ...
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to try customising the Pod's presets using Podman32 Pod Manager, which is pretty good, though a little clunky to drive; I'd like to be able to switch between presets using an up/down arrow rather than selecting from a drop-down menu and then having to load that preset from the Pod. I set Line 6 Clean, Crunch and Drive for the first three with all effects turned off. You still get to select the effects parameters while disabled, so when you enable them you get the default you've set up. The enabled state obviously doesn't persist from one preset to another, though, so I guess the next thing to try is whether I can simply select an amp type rather than a preset.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I've decided to go for the UnO firmware for the FCB1010, which will allegedly give me stompbox-type capability, allowing multiple switch LEDs/effects to be active at the same time. SHould be here tomorrow.

Also, very tempted to go for some of this kit to make my USB MIDI Yamaha NPV60 usable with an old-style DIN machine, so I can change patches with my feet:
http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/usb-host-board-v2
http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/audio-midi/usb-host-midi
http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/audio-midi/midi-breakout
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've "upgraded" my FCB1010 to UnO firmware version 1.0.4. The standard Behringer firmware is supported by a couple of different free tools that provide you with a simulation (virtual FCB1010) that you can use to test your changes or sysex file. For UnO, you either buy the 20 UnO Control center application that gives you that same kind of capability or you use the freeware Ripwerx FCB editor, which does not have a virtual FCB1010 but allows you to upload the sysex and edit parameters in a handy matrix.The Ripwerx editor does not recognise UnO 1.0.4 when you ask it to get the version (latest in its table is 1.0.2f) but seems to work with it anyway rather than just give up.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ripworx Editor does not support Uno 1.0.4 so when I came to download a SysEx after editing some values it just hung.

To save muckin' abaht with manual entry and not wanting to splash out 20 on the Uno Control Centre software* I found someone who'd created a SysEx for Line 6 Pod XT and downloaded it using MidiOx. Checking the codes generated it seems that the guy's created the SysEx to put specific Pod effects on the top row, which are configured as "stomp-box" mode and "presets" on the bottom row. Stomp-box mode means that the LED for that switch toggles.

The SysEx includes some effects on/off for some presets, probably to over-ride the effect selection that's the factory default on those presets. Unfortunately the Uno software, at least as configured in this SysEx, doesn't correlate the effects controls on the two banks. So if I've enabled, say, modulation by a stomp-box and it gets disabled by the preset I chose, the stomp-box LED doesn't go out. This is a little disappointing, but I notice from the manual there is some sort of correlation option that may apply, though maybe only to Preset mode.

*I see there is a "try before you buy" option so I might have a look at that after all.
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